Drew Phillips
October 1, 2009

Very rarely in life does one get to have the best of both worlds. Most things have a downside, and this can be especially true when it comes to classic cars. Older cars just don't handle or brake as well as modern cars, not to mention a lack of modern conveniences and safety features. Enter Modern Muscle [www.realmodernmuscle.com; (727) 869-9533], a Hudson, Florida-based company that combines the styling of classic muscle cars with modern components. "Our mission is quite simple. We take classic muscle cars and apply state-of-the-art engineering and technology," said Mike Staveski, co-founder and owner of the company. "These cars can be used as daily drivers or weekend cruisers that will either out perform or stay with any modern day sports car." The current lineup includes a '69 Camaro, a '70-'71 'Cuda, and the '69-'70 Mustang SportsRoof you see here. Each is available as a conversion from the original chassis or a "supercar" version that utilizes an all-new chassis custom built for the car.

As you can imagine, building these cars can be quite an undertaking, but fortunately the work is being done by experienced hands. Time Machines, Inc., founded by Mike and his brother Joe back in 1996, has unsurpassed experience in custom building and restoring muscle cars. In the past decade, more than 100 muscle cars have passed through their doors, with all of the work being done in house. The company received a GM Design Award for its Baldwin Motion Super Coupe in 2005 as well as a Chrysler Design Award for its Six Shooter 'Cuda in 2003. The joint venture with Modern Muscle started a few years ago when Staveski teamed up with Bill Sefton, a noted muscle car collector, to bring modern technology to classic designs.

For its Mustang project, Modern Muscle started with a unibody from a '69 Mustang SportsRoof. Much of the exterior retained the looks of the 1969 model year, but you'll notice the front end got the sheet metal from a '70. "In the past many people have focused on the '66-'68 model years," Mike told us. "We wanted to do something different, plus the '69 and '70 Boss Mustangs were the real muscle cars." The rear of the car has also been slightly revised, with recessed taillights and the Mustang lettering shaved from the rear deck. The silver paint is a custom color from Modern Muscle and with the addition of a Boss 429 style hood and hockey stick stripes on the side, this custom Mustang has both a clean and aggressive look.

While the exterior might be from a classic Mustang, that's where the similarities to a classic Pony car end. Under the hood lies a supercharged 5.4L V-8 from a modern day Shelby GT500. Several modifications have been made, however, that make it very different from the production motor. First, a Kenne Bell 2.8H supercharger replaces the stock unit, complete with a 10-rib pulley, a Mammoth air inlet, a dual 75mm throttle body, and custom inlet piping to the dual vents outside of the left headlight. An AFCO aluminum radiator and heat exchanger help keep things cool while AFCO long tube headers and Flowmaster mufflers ensure easy breathing on the exhaust end. In total, the engine produces an astounding 725 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque. Fortunately, the drivetrain is built to handle the sort of punishment that comes with that much power. A Tremec six-speed manual transmission from the GT500, a Hurst short throw shifter, and a 9-inch rearend all help direct power to the rear wheels.

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Inside, the design theme follows the lead of the engine bay and shares components from the current Shelby GT500. We're not talking about a few nuts and bolts-you'll see a complete dash assembly and the seats transferred over from the Shelby. The interior is definitely something very different than anything one normally sees in a classic Mustang, but it manages to blend seamlessly with the rest of the car. The cockpit also gets a custom Grant steering wheel, Auto Meter gauges, Electric Life power windows, Flaming River push button start, and Alcantara suede trim on the dash, console, and seats. A Sony sound system adds another nice modern touch, complete with a DVD navigation system and dual 12-inch subwoofers mounted in the trunk.

As you can probably guess, Modern Muscle wanted its Mustang to handle just as well as any of the current muscle cars. The suspension system gets a complete makeover with a new Heidts weld-in Mus-tang II independent system up front and a four-link system in the rear, complete with AFCO double adjustable coilovers. Stopping power is a priority too, and is provided by 13-inch, four-piston Stainless Steel Brakes (SSBC) discs front and rear. BFGoodrich g-Force T/A KDW tires, P235/35ZR19 front and P285/30ZR20 rear, supply plenty of road-holding grip and are wrapped over Modern Muscle designed three-piece forged wheels.

Of course, Modern Muscle recognizes that not everyone may want the exact features on this Mustang. That's why it has a list of optional equipment, ranging from an independent rear suspension, to a fuel cell, to an automatic transmission with paddle shifters. Want something custom or one-off? Modern Muscle will hear you out. The company will even supply individual parts if you're interested in doing your own build. Either way, Modern Muscle is all about creat-ing the fastest and best handling classic muscle cars on the road. But don't take our word for it. "It's probably the most explosive yet drivable car we have ever built," Mike told us. "All I can say is that driving is believing."

The Details
Modern Muscle's '69 Mustang SportsRoof
Engine

  • Shelby GT500 5.4L supercharged V-8
  • Iron block/aluminum heads
  • 3.55-inch bore
  • 4.16-inch stroke
  • Kenne Bell 2.8H supercharger system with Mammoth inlet and custom intake
  • Dual 75mm throttle body
  • AFCO aluminum radiator
  • AFCO heat exchanger
  • FAST engine management system
  • Optima battery

Transmission

  • Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual
  • Ford Racing Hurst short-throw shifter

Rearend

  • 9-inch

Exhaust

  • AFCO long-tube headers
  • Flowmaster mufflers

Suspension

  • Front: Heidts weld-in Mustang II-style independent suspension, AFCO coilovers
  • Rear: Heidts four-link rear suspension, AFCO coilovers

Brakes

  • Front: SSBC 13-inch cross-drilled and slotted disc, four-piston caliper
  • Rear: SSBC 13-inch cross-drilled and slotted disc, four-piston caliper

Wheels

  • Front: Modern Muscle three-piece forged, 19x8
  • Rear: Modern Muscle three-piece forged, 20x10

Tires

  • Front: BFGoodrich g-Force KDW, P235/30ZR19
  • Rear: BFGoodrich g-Force KDW, P285/30ZR20

Interior

  • Shelby GT500 dash, seats, and console; Vintage Air heating and cooling system; Sony audio/video entertainment system, dual Sony Xplod 1,200-watt subwoofers; Grant custom steering wheel, Electric Life power windows; Cool It Thermo Tec insulation; Flaming River push-button start; Auto Meter gauges

Exterior

  • Modern Muscle custom silver paint; '70 front sheet metal; Boss 429-style carbon-fiber hood-scoop; shaved rear deck; recessed taillights

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